Use online dating apps in Wiltshire? Please stay safe

Use online dating apps in Wiltshire? Please stay safe

Published at 5:47am 4th June 2019. (Updated at 5:48am 4th June 2019)

4 minute read

There's advice from police in the county to take precautions if meeting up with strangers face-to-face.

Wiltshire Police is highlighting the potential dangers of using online apps and websites as the numbers of crimes associated with them is rising.

Latest figures from the National Crime Agency show there were 184 people who made allegations they were raped by someone they met online in the UK in 2014. 

That's up from 33 back in 2009.

Police are asking us to be wary when meeting up with someone we've never met in real life before.

Bumble and Tinder iphone
We're being asked to tread carefully when it comes to using online dating apps

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Cooper, Chief Officer Lead for Crime, Justice and Vulnerability at Wiltshire Police, said:

"The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has, unsurprisingly, contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes.

"Even if you feel you have become closer to someone via email, text messaging or phone calls, you should still remember that this person is largely a stranger to you.

"It is therefore vital that when meeting someone new in person, you take precautions, agree on what you both want from the date and don't feel pressured to do anything you aren't comfortable with.

"Individuals should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they do not wish to do. If this happens then you should contact the dating app provider immediately with your concerns and always report to the police if any criminal activity takes place."

Teenager Child Sexual Exploitation
Anyone that's been a victim of a sexual assault after meeting up with an online date is asked to report it

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE A VICTIM:

If a rape or sexual assault has occurred recently, you should call 999 so it can be dealt with as urgently and effectively as possible.

Even if an incident has happened a while ago, Wiltshire Police would still like to speak to you - in that instance, please call 101.

If you know someone that has been the victim of rape or sexual assault, you can also report it by calling 101.

Alternatively, you can call the First Light Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 01793 781916 or by visiting their website.

 

Online Dating Multimedia Handshake
Do you know who you're really meeting up with?

 

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said:

"We now live in a world where people interact and meet each other online, but this has its dangers. Although going on a date with someone new is an exciting step in a relationship, people must remain vigilant as you don't know who that person 'really' is.

"No matter what the circumstances, sexual activities against your will is a crime, and my strongly-held view remains that it's not OK to blame the victim whether a man or woman.

"Should the worst ever happen, support is available. I was proud to be at the re-launch of the First Light Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in February this year and to witness first-hand the superb support the doctors, nurses and crisis workers provide to survivors of rape and sexual abuse".

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